DAYMÉ AROCENA, Sonocardiogram (Brownswood): ****

The soulful Cuban jazz vocalist follow’s 2017’s acclaimed “Cubafonia” with a tastily arranged set dedicated to traditions of faith and family. Opener “Nangareo” presents Arocena speaking reverently over background chants and ocean wave sounds, invoking Santería saints or orishas “Oyá,” “Oshún” and “Yemayá” with exuberant call-and-response choruses, polyrhythmic percussion and Jorge Luis Lagarza Pérez’s elegantly melodic piano. That fluid exchange between traditional rhythms and rituals and exploratory jazz defines the album, to striking effect. Highlights: “Porque Tú No Estás,” “Menuet Para un Corazón,” “Not for Me” (“Living forever with sadness is not for me”). daymearocena.com

ARIANA GILLIS, The Maze (self-released): ***

Crisply co-produced with Buddy Miller at his Nashville home studio, the Canadian singer-songwriter’s tuneful pop pulses with a sense of purpose, likely influenced by the visual concussion that upended her life for four years. Gillis’ clear, punchy alto often catches in her throat and occasionally calls to mind Alison Moyet, particularly during tougher tracks like “Dirt Gets Dirty” and the saxophone-twisted “Slow Motion Killer.” Other highlights: “Jeremy Woodstock,” “The Feeling of Empty” (“I read too much, I write too much, I think too much/ When all I’ve ever wanted is to know enough/ To fill me up”). At Wine & Song in South Pasadena Wednesday, Sept. 11. arianagillis.com

WHITNEY, Forever Turned Around (Secretly Canadian): ***½

Drummer Julien Ehrlich and guitarist Max Kakacek sound like they were wandering around in a ’70s California haze while composing the Chicago band’s sophomore album, which serves up dreamy pop balm for headline-rattled listeners seeking respite. Echoes of Burt Bacharach and Neil Young can be discerned in the melodic curves and harmonics of tracks like the hooky “Used to Be Lonely,” “Valleys (My Love)” and the pensively hopeful “Song for Ty” (“Anything could happen”), with Ehrlich’s silken tenor sweetening thoughtful musings about the sticky catch-22s of relationships and independence. facebook.com/whitneychicago

SUNNY WAR, Shell of a Girl (Hen House): ***½

The onetime Venice busker exercises a winningly light touch as both guitarist and poet while tapping into societal pressures and hypocrisies here, beautifully braiding strands of blues, bossa nova, folk and jazz into her melodic phrases. Micah Nelson’s harmonica and Milo Gonzalez’s Dobro add atmospheric contours to tracks like “Where the Lost Get Found” and “Got No Ride” (“Turned my pain into my pride”); other highlights include the swaying “Shell” and “Drugs Are Bad” (“Unless of course you get too sad”). Worthy of the time it quietly requests. sunnywar.com